Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – The African Union chief has named Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga as the Union’s as the High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, made the revealation in a statement on Saturday.
He attributed the decision to the Union’s drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure.
“This will help promote economic growth and sustainable development,” the AU boss said.
He explained that the decision was in line with the adoption last March in Kigali (Rwanda) of the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport and the launching of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Paramount on his terms of reference, Odinga will work to support and strengthen the efforts of the Commission’s relevant Departments and those of the Planning and Coordinating Agency of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
That will be done within the framework of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which was endorsed by the Assembly of the Union in January 2012.
Odinga will also seek to mobilize further political support from member states and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as well as facilitate greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent.
He is expected to pay particular attention to the missing links along the transnational highway corridors identified as part of the Trans-African Highways Network, with a view to facilitating their development and modernization.
Mr. Odinga has contested the Kenyan presidency and defeated twice by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Analysts told ADV that Mr. Kenyatta was the brainchild of Odinga’s present job in a way to compensate him for his reconciliatory gesture recently when he agreed to meet Mr. Kenyatta to bury their hatchet.
Their latest confrontation stemmed from Odinga’s contestation of rigged presidential results that was endorsed by Kenya’s constitutional court and a recount that was still contested but later dropped by Odinga.
Both men’s fathers had been longstanding antagonists on the Kenyan post independence political landscape that was dominated by Mr. Kenyatta’s father on the Kenyan presidency until his death.
© Bur-csa – N.A – A.H / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV)